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What is the purpose of therapy?

Let’s start what with therapy is and isn’t. Therapy is not something reserved only for people with severe mental illness. That stigma is old-fashioned and belongs in the past.

Therapy is also not something you need to do four times a week. If you’re wondering, “how often should I go to therapy?” The answer is really however often you want, though many people attend sessions at a weekly cadence for the best clinical outcomes. Other people see a therapist once a month, and some only a few times a year. It all depends on your individual needs, goals, and lifestyle.

Therapy is, at its core, a safe place to be yourself, ask questions, and learn the tools to cope with problems and live a life that feels safe and fulfilling. As the American Psychological Association puts it, “psychologists help people of all ages live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.”

Mental health professionals offer many benefits for improving your daily life. Maybe you’re interested in therapy for depression, therapy for an anxiety disorder, or any number of other diagnoses, conditions, and feelings. Therapists can help with overcoming defeating thoughts, managing addiction, and changing destructive behavior, but there are many other perks of therapy outside of dealing with specific mental health issues.

One of the benefits is pure catharsis. Just the act of putting our feelings into words alone can have therapeutic effects. A therapist can be a valuable sounding board, especially when you don’t feel comfortable telling anyone else what’s going on.

Therapy can also help you think things through. Discussing your problems with a qualified counselor can help you work through what to do next, whether you’re unsure of your next career step, having trouble with communication in a relationship, or even just struggling to make connections in a new place.

A therapist or counselor can also act as an unbiased third party for relationships. In the confines of a therapist’s office, it can feel safer to discuss how you’re feeling with a partner when there’s someone there to help keep the conversation healthy and on track.

Therapy can even act as a time for self-improvement. You can work with a therapist to practice standing your ground, speaking up, making new friends, improving relationships with your family members, or even just getting to know yourself a little bit better—all of which will improve your overall quality of life.

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